Belfast Telegraph

Pearson maintains City belief

Leicester have been bottom of the Premier League since late November, yet manager Nigel Pearson still believes they have the wherewithal to beat the drop.

Saturday's display in the 4-3 defeat at Tottenham belied that of a team at the foot of the standings, although an eighth successive league match without a win only pushes them closer towards relegation.

It leaves City seven points adrift of safety with nine matches remaining, yet Pearson insists the belief remains intact inside the dressing room.

"There is always scope to do something slightly different to keep morale high, but bottom line is players know they've done all right (against Spurs)," the Foxes boss said.

"We've been unfortunate in different ways, deflections, penalty, own goal.

"There are setbacks during game players have to deal with, and then the result, but what does remain there is belief among the group we can get out of the situation.

"Whether other people believe it or not is not really relevant. We do believe we've been competitive.

"It'd be nice to talk about we've got away with that today but that's not what it is."

Instead, Pearson was bemoaning the match-changing penalty awarded by "arrogant" referee Mike Dean.

Harry Kane duly converted to bring up his hat-trick, pushing his former club closer to the drop.

The current golden boy of English football endured a frustrating loan spell at the King Power Stadium towards the end of the 2012/13 season, scoring just twice after being restricted to what was mostly a bench role by Pearson.

The Foxes boss readily admits his rise since then has been "exceptional" - highlighted by this week's maiden England call-up and his first Premier League hat-trick.

"He was two years younger for a start," Pearson said of the change in 21-year-old. "You've got to put it into context that we were not in a good run at that point.

"It's never easy for a young player on loan to come into a side that's not on the top of their game, and have the impact that you may want

"But he did very well in his time with us, but I don't suppose anybody at that point would have seen the rise he's had."

Kane's treble against the Foxes made him the Premier League's top scorer - a feat made all the more remarkable given the first of those 19 goals did not arrive until November 2.

Now he goes away with England for matches against Lithuania and Italy - recognition Spurs head coach Mauricio Pochettino believes is wholly deserved.

"I think it's a very good thing for him, after scoring three goals," the former Argentina international said. "It's a very good moment to be in national team.

"I think Harry is today, a player who people prize a lot. I think that this season Harry has a big impact in the English football. I think that he's one of the better English players so far.

"I think he's a very humble person. From the beginning of the season, I think he impressed us, his human side. His mentality, always wants to improve, never complains. I think it's a perfect mentality to develop his skill."

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